Joining its counterpart on the north side, a Milwaukee Public Schools TeamUp College Access Center opened recently on the south side. The new center plans on hosting an official grand opening celebration on Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m.
The two MPS TeamUp College Access Centers help prepare middle and high school students for ACT, SAT and GED exams. The centers also teach families how to help their children get into college. Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree can get help studying for the GRE.
District employees and certified guidance counselors edit resumes, provide mentoring, assist with scholarship applications and encourage networking among the students who attend the centers.
“We are a one-stop college shop,” said Sharnissa Dunlap-Parker, director of TeamUp College Access Centers. “There are people spending $2,000 on something (college prep) that we provide all day for free.”
The centers help residents advance their education, Dunlap-Parker said, which ultimately reduces poverty.
“K-12 education is not enough for [people] to live outside of poverty,” she said. “Kids don’t wake up in the morning, come to school and say, ‘When I grow up I want to be poor.’”
Kate Cunningham, school counselor and south side site coordinator of the College Access Center, said it is accessible to the community because of its convenient location.
The north side center opened in October 2011 at 2730 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Dunlap-Parker said the center aided 551 students, as word spread about its services.
The south side center, 3333 S. 27th St., is expected to open the program to a “brand new market,” Dunlap-Parker added.
“Being located near the Wal-Mart allows parents to drop off their students when they’re doing their normal weekly shopping,” Dunlap-Parker said. “We’re really close to two of our high schools (and) a few of the private schools in the area.”
Cunningham said the south side center also wants to connect with the community. Bilingual staff people also are available on the south side.
“You have lots of folks who speak Spanish,” Cunningham said. “In this location it’s important to have staff who (are) bilingual so we can reach as many people as we can.”
Cunningham said both College Access Centers encourage people to consider new possibilities in life.
“There are lots of people in the city who are not aware as they could be of all opportunities out there for post-secondary routes,” Cunningham said. “The center helps them to a better future and helps make their dreams come true.”